From every song about kids on the radio to every old lady in Target or at church, you hear: “Don’t blink, this will go by so fast.” Or, “You’re going to miss this, one day.” “They won’t always be this little.” And for the most part, I agree. I watch their tiny hands wrap around my finger, kiss their little noses when I snuggle them before bedtime, and sob when I watch “Slow Down.” I have an 8-year-old, a 4-year-old and 1-year-old twins, and I know how fast it goes. I look at my 8-year-old daughter and then my 1-year-olds and think, wasn’t she just 1? How fast are they going to be 8? I love having babies, and I’m sad they’re growing so fast that the hardest year of my life has gone by, and we’re almost celebrating their 1st birthday. But I’m also happy. Because let’s be real — as much as I love the cuddles and hugs, a warm snuggling infant and the hilarious, stumbling words and phrases of my toddler — there are some things I am definitely NOT going to miss about having small children! Here’s my list — what’s on yours?
Bodily Fluids: In the past eight years I’ve seen enough pee, poop, vomit, snot and spit to last me several lifetimes. I will be thrilled — ECSTATIC even — when I no longer have to check my clothes for snot before I walk out of the house, scrub the poop from under my fingernails after changing a particularly wiggly baby or blowout diaper, clean pee out of carseats, off the floor and even my shoes (!), scrape vomit off the carpet after my oldest throws up next to my bed before she can get, “I don’t feel well,” out of her mouth, and wipe, wipe, wipe drool off teething babies’ chins and neck folds. I won’t miss the sight, smell or amount of bodily fluids I clean up on a daily basis, trying to keep my house, my car, my life relatively germ-free with four walking petri dishes living with me.
Lack of Sleep: Any given night I’m up three to five times. And not just with the babies. The 8-year-old had a bad dream. The 4-year-old is in a “scared of the dark” phase. A twin has an ear infection. Someone keeps coughing themselves awake. My husband and I often joke that we’ll sleep again when we’re dead. I don’t see this as an exaggeration at this point. One Saturday afternoon I was so tired I fell asleep on the floor. I will be one happy, high-functioning camper when I can get eight straight hours again.
The Mess: Having kids is a level of gross you can’t even imagine until you have kids. From washing bottles with stinking old formula, scraping mushed baby biscuit off the dog, finding Playdoh in the seagrass carpet to constantly throwing tiny plastic toys into bins, putting away tiny socks, wiping up food, paint, marker, chalk, dirt, fingerprints, cleaning up bodily fluids (see above) and washing banana out of my babies’ hair, the mess can’t stop, won’t stop. Doesn’t. Ever. Stop.
The Crap: Bouncers and high chairs, bottles, sippy cups and lids, Bumbos, wipe containers, Pack ‘N Plays, Boppys, Podsters, playmats, baby-bath seats, safety latches and plugs, strollers and monitors… I will be so glad when I can get all this stuff out of my house. And with the twins, I had two of everything. I am really looking forward to the day when I do not need to touch, move or clean one more made-in-China piece of plastic baby equipment.
The Witching Hour: You know it. Can I get an Amen? I doubt having four kids over the age of eight — instead of under eight — is going to make the hours between 4 and 7 p.m. any easier, but I’m hoping there will be a little less crying, and a little less freaking out over not being able to wear their beloved sneakers in the bath tub, a little less sobbing over a peanut butter sandwich (because that’s all they’ll eat right now) cut in squares instead of in triangles.
The Carseats: I’m thankful for them and my kids will be in a five-point and rear-facing seat until they get a driver’s license. But holy heck are they heavy, bulky, hard to fly with, and expensive. The day I can say, “Let’s go get ice cream!” and have all four kids buckle and unbuckle themselves will be a day of freedom indeed. I’ll be psyched when I don’t have to coordinate leaving, carrying or trading carseats and boosters at day care, for dance carpool, for playdates and installing and uninstalling them in 100+ degree Florida summers.
The Lack of Logic: Ok, maybe we have a long way to go on this one, I can concede that. But trying to explain to a 2 -year-old why he can’t wear his sneakers in the bathtub or freaking out over a sandwich cut the wrong way just pushes every one of my parenting patience buttons. I get it. They aren’t mature, they don’t understand, they can’t mentally form thoughts the way I do. Still, the frustration resulting from dealing with this day in and day out is enough sometimes to drive the kindest person over the edge. I promise you milk tastes the same in the blue cup as it does in the red cup. Right? RIGHT.
The Giant Diaper Bag: Sometimes I love having a giant bag to tote around. Half of the stuff in it is for me. Other times, when I run to the store by myself or take only my 8-year-old somewhere, I’m thrilled to have nothing but a wallet, keys and phone with me. It’s nice not to have to pack bottles, formula, burp cloths and diapers, a change of clothes, bibs, and snacks. And once I even forgot to pack baby wipes for a quick trip….it was not pretty.
Repeating Myself. Repeating Myself. Repeating Myself: How many times do I have to nag them to make their lunch, clean up their room, flush the toilet, flush the toilet, flush the toilet, put your shoes away so the babies don’t teeth on the filthy rubber bottoms, put your shoes away, brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush your teeth?!?! Some nights I get so tired of repeating myself I just think, “I don’t care. The house can go to rot, and I will not care.” Sometimes I see a small glimmer of hope — my oldest now feeds the dog as soon as we get home from school, without any prompting.
The Squabbling: Does this change when you have teenagers? Or are the fights just louder and more creative? I know siblings fight. I fought with mine. I know it is a way for them to learn, to stick up for themselves, to learn to stand their ground and learn to negotiate, all within the safety of their own family. But at 5 p.m. during the car ride home the squabbles over who was talking first or who saw the blue truck first or who gets the last pretzel… drives me over the edge. (See lack of logic, witching hour, above). It’s all I can do to not scream, “QUUUIIIIIEEEEETTT!”
You’re going to miss this, they say. And I will. But these 10 things… I don’t think so. Even if they don’t outweigh how much I love my kids.
Do you have older or grown kids? What do you miss?